Different views exist on the question of whether a woman has a right to perform an abortion she doesn’t want to give birth to a child. Most people believe that it’s wrong to perform this operation when the fetus more or less developed when it has its organs formed. In the same time, lots of people consider the abortion in the first trimester, when the fetus is not so developed, to be a right way out for the woman who desires to end her pregnancy. Some citizens support the view that the women have to be given the right to decide whether she wants to have a child, or she doesn’t on any term of pregnancy, but this opinion is not very widespread.
Nevertheless, the question of whether women can decide on whether to give birth to the child, or not, is very controversial. Jeffrey Rose, the author of the article about abortion law published in The Atlantic Monthly recently, calls this issue “one of the most explosive political battles since the civil-rights movement, if not the Civil War”(2006). Nevertheless, it is apparent that abortion is an individual health decision every woman has to have the right to accept or refuse.
The pro-life activists claim that abortion, even in the first trimester of pregnancy is morally impermissible, as, according to their reassurances, an embryo at every stage of its development, from the early days of conceiving, is the organism that has a potential of developing into a rational human being. Thus they conclude that abortion at any stage of pregnancy is murder. In the same time, those moralists choose to ignore the laws, which say that the human being acquires all of the rights and duties of the citizen, and of the human only after being born. De-jure an unborn child is not a human. Thus we cannot say that abortion is murder.
Those politicians and civil rights movements’ activists who stand for the abortion ban forget about the fact that prohibiting women from performing any medical procedure with her body is illegal, as it is, in fact, breaking her constitutional rights. The fetus is the part of the mother’s body, and she is the only person who has the right to make any decisions concerning it until its birth.
Unfortunately, the pro-life activists, who fight for the rights of the unborn children, often forget about the existence of the rights of their mothers. In some U.S states, like South Dakota, the abortion bans don’t allow women to perform this operation even when pregnancy is threatening their life. The rape and incest victims, who live in this state, are also forced to give birth to their children, despite the circumstances conceived. The results are that most of the dwellers of this country do not support the authorities that are in power. Nevertheless, Rose (2006) says there are 15% of people in South Dakota who, support this ban in full measure, and 20% of people who are sure that the threat to the women’s life can be the only reason for performing an abortion.
The pro-life activities like to talk about the right to life that every living creature has, at the same time forgetting about the child’s reason for parental care and the decent quality of life. They claim that even when a woman does not want to have a child, she has to give birth to it in case she is pregnant, and then refuse from the baby. Those people think it is better to raise a child in a shelter, or in a foster family than allow its mother to get rid of it.
Those people are mostly poorly educated in the field of psychology and pedagogy, as they forget that to raise a human being that would become a decent member of the society, he or she needs parents that would love him or her, read him or her books, and provide other care.
What is the use of giving birth to a child that would not get parental love and care, as her parents don’t have the ability, or the desire to raise her? The persuasion that the child has to be born at any price produces millions of orphans, both de-jure and de-facto, who have to be built by the government. Most of those kids don’t have a chance to continue their education after graduating from high school. Thus their career perspectives are also weak. The conclusion is that the pro-life policy produces the new generation of homeless, people whose level of life is quite lower than the standard one. Thus it’s obvious that the pro-life system has the potential to make the overall level of experience in the country lower.
Also, the pro-life activists often tend to disrespect those, who have another opinion on this issue. The recent report from Australia shows that the situation with counseling lines for pregnant women there is very complicated. “Pregnant women are calling supposedly neutral phone counseling lines” – claims Peta Hellard in her article recently published in Sunday Times, – “say they are verbally abused, emotionally blackmailed and told distressing lies to stop them having abortions”(2006).
They are persuaded that:
- If they had an abortion, they would not fall pregnant for five years or would become permanently infertile.
- They were likely to develop breast cancer and mental illnesses if they had a termination.
- They would suffer psychological damage would never recover from an abortion. (Hellard, 2006)
Some women who used those services also reported that they were shown the photos of the aborted fetuses to shock them into refusing from abortion, and some counselors even called their clients, who considered abortion as one of their possible choices, murderers. The counselors on these phones are pro-life supporters, who believe that the life of the unborn baby should be saved at any price; thus their clients get a distorted view on this health choice and its consequences.
Those, who support the pro-life anti-abortion policy, usually have the views less extreme than those legalized in South Dakota. Most of the pro-life supporters, in fact, agree, that the abortion performed if pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother. Nevertheless, they reject the possibility to allow a woman to stop the pregnancy when it is threatening her mental health. For some women, especially for the young ones, pregnancy is a very traumatizing factor, primarily when it results from rape or incest. The pro-life activists are so conscious about the life of the unborn child that they prefer to ignore the psychological and emotional state of its mother. And, of course, the pro-life supporters agree that the economic reasons must not be considered in deciding whether to perform an abortion or no. They choose to ignore the fact that lots of women have to raise their children themselves without any help from their fathers.
Pro-choice supporters believe that every woman has a right to choose whether to give birth to a child, or not, as it is her matter. The fetus that is growing in her body is in fact, part of her, and she is the only who can decide on its fate. The woman is the one who will have to take responsibility for the child after its birth, to raise it. Thus it is a matter of her choice whether she is ready to devote her next twenty years to another person. No one has the right to force her to do it or prevent from doing it.
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